Restaurants Now: A Voce

Per Se and Masa, the stars of the Time Warner Center, get an ambitious new neighbor.
a voce

The most daring and most maligned restaurant design of the past few years was undoubtedly Café Gray in the Time Warner Center, where architect David Rockwell put the open kitchen right in front of the spectacular vista. Diners were outraged; didn’t that view of Columbus Circle belong to them? Despite the fabulous food, the restaurant, with the incredibly talented Gray Kunz at the helm, did not survive.

Now a new talent has taken over, in a redesigned space. Missy Robbins came to New York last year from Spiaggia, one of the president’s favorite Chicago haunts, to tackle the Big Apple. After retooling A Voce on Madison Square Park she’s moved uptown to the newest A Voce, a sleek, casual, loud restaurant with a modern Italian menu, an enormous wine list—and a lovely view.

There are few surprises here. You can begin simply with plates of salumi or a variety of interestingly attired vegetables (grilled zucchini with ricotta salata, cauliflower with almonds and raisins). An irresistible slab of pork belly with slices of figs and a scattering of pistachios dancing across the top seems to be the star of the antipasto offerings. Pastas are big, rich, and rather gorgeous; I found myself sneaking bites of handmade spaghetti topped with crab and sea urchin butter off my neighbor’s plate while she kept zooming in for another taste of my airy gnocchi. Nothing seems particularly remarkable about the main courses, which include grilled lamb chops, swordfish, branzino—at least until you taste the chicken. Crisp, juicy, and filled with flavor, it is a memorable bird.

This is cozy food that cries out for an intimate space. There’s something of a disconnect when you look around and find yourself sitting in a great barn of a room. Sure, it’s got a view. What it doesn’t have is much charm.

A Voce Columbus Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, New York (212-823-2523;

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